If your mom was always trying to make you eat your spinach – she was on to something! Eating a spinach salad and other dark leafy greens delivers a bonanza of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Calorie for calorie, dark, leafy greens are one the most concentrated sources of nutrition. They are rich in minerals (iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium) and vitamins (K, C, E and some B vitamins), and they provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene and lutein.
Lutein, for example, is well established as being beneficial for eye health. But there is mounting evidence that the nutrient decreases the risk of wrinkles, as well as cancer. Dark leafy greens are the richest sources of lutein, in particular kale, collard greens, cooked spinach and Swiss Chard. Lutein is also plentiful in parsley, chicory, mustard greens, beet greens, romaine lettuce and endive.
If you are doing some last minute shopping for Thanksgiving, make sure and stock up on your dark leafy greens! In fact, grab some Swiss chard and try the recipe below...
Beautifying Sautéed Swiss chard RecipeIngredients
- Start with one bunch or a half pound of fresh Swiss chard. With a knife, remove and discard any tough or damaged end portions along with the thick core or center stem portion of the greens. Stack the leaves into a tube shape, about three at a time, and cut lengthwise to create thin 1" ribbons.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic and cook for about 2 minutes on medium heat, just until the garlic begins to become light golden. Then, immediately add chard and toss. Add 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, season with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste.
- Cook uncovered for three to five minutes, stirring frequently until chard leaves are tender and wilted but still brightly colored. Remove and serve.
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